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Old 12-23-2018, 10:50 AM   #1481
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by DominusNovus View Post
Are there any plans to redevelop the Braintree Station area?

I look at the plaza north of Union Street, with the Hobby Lobby, Best Buy, Staples, etc, and think it really is wasted potential. That plaza could have better access (perhaps on-ramps from the Highway), and you could build a new station there, without screwing up the current station too much. On a grander acale, almost everything aroond the station is woefully underutilized, considering that its all built along the highway and two different train lines (Red and CR). The Pearl St Plazas are particularly dumpy compared to what they could be.

Granted, the fact that thereís a landfill and active recycling (I think?) facility right next to all of this is a downside.
Braintree isn't quite Quincy in terms of embracing TOD, so that might be a slow process. It's always going to be somewhat of a parking-sink station because of convenience from MA 3; that's a feature not a bug at this particular location.

It's kind of in the city's boat if they want to redev the big-box stores for densification. Certainly the market for big-box chains is a lot more volatile these days, so they could stand to flip more of those sites to job anchors like the Harvard Vanguard med offices at start of the driveway to the Marketplace shops. I also have no idea what's in that forlorn warehouse bordering the south side of the station; looks like it's been vacant for years. That would be an excellent place to start.

You're correct that the landfill can't be built on. The hill won't support building foundations, so they've just got the solar farm on top. Would be able to be landscaped into a nice park, however. The Covanta transfer station I think has a small energy incinerator onsite. However, if you moved that across the street tucked way in back next to the freight yard (subdivide the warehouse land?), they can ship the transferred trash by rail southbound on a Middleboro freight to the SEMASS trash-to-energy plant in Rochester...which Covanta also operates. That would free up as much developable land as possible on the landfill side of the street. There's expansion room for adding a couple tracks to the freight yard, so Covanta would be able to shunt cars from their siding into the yard with a small trackmobile.

Relocating the current station probably isn't a good idea, because the bus access to Washington St. is superior at the corner of Union/Washington vs. anywhere else and there's dense residential + municipal attractions to the west. The one thing I am disappointed they aren't doing with the current renovation is eliminating the pedestrian grade crossing at the CR station in favor of an overpass. The track crossing is for the freight yard, but midday off-peak when the Middleboro Line picks up Braintree as a flag stop is same time of day that Fore River Transportation is inside the yard puttering around arranging dropoff cars. Inconvenient to have that crossing in use the time of day when there's a mini-surge in service at that station.
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Old 01-10-2019, 06:36 PM   #1482
bigeman312
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

I'd appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism.

I'm thinking of potential long (but not too long as to be operationally infeasible) bus routes that connect multiple high ridership corridors, and remove common transfers.
  • Dedham Line - Heath Street: Extend the 34 from Forest Hills to Heath Street via the 39 route. Would provide a one-seat ride between West Roxbury/Roslindale and JP/Mission Hill, eliminating the need for a transfer at Forest Hills.
  • Cleary Square - Brookline Village: Proposed "46" bus running from Cleary Square via the 32 route, Ukraine Way, the Forest Hills Upper Busway, then along the 39, 66, and 60 bus routes to Brookline Village. Would provide a one-seat ride between Hyde Park/Roslindale and JP/Mission Hill/Brookline, eliminating the need for a transfer at Forest Hills. Would also provide better connections to/from the D Line (better than the current D <-> 39 transfer).
  • Forest Hills - Allston Village: Proposed "49" bus running from Forest Hills via the 39 and 66 bus routes to Allston Village, looping back at Harvard Ave in Allston. Would provide a one set ride between Allston/Brookline and JP, eliminated the need to go in-and-out (Green to Orange), or transfer from the 66 at Riverway or Roxbury Crossing.
  • Oak Square - Dudley: Proposed "63" bus running from Dudley via the 66, 65, and 57 bus routes to Oak Square. Would provide a one set ride between Brighton and Mission Hill/Roxbury, and provide better connections to JP via the Orange Line to-and-from Brighton. These trips are currently very, unnecessarily difficult.
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:18 PM   #1483
mass88
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Is the commuter rail electrified for an significant portions?

What would the main benefits be (if any) if the MBTA electrified the entire commuter rail system?
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:35 AM   #1484
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigeman312 View Post
I'd appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism.

I'm thinking of potential long (but not too long as to be operationally infeasible) bus routes that connect multiple high ridership corridors, and remove common transfers.
  • Dedham Line - Heath Street: Extend the 34 from Forest Hills to Heath Street via the 39 route. Would provide a one-seat ride between West Roxbury/Roslindale and JP/Mission Hill, eliminating the need for a transfer at Forest Hills.
  • Cleary Square - Brookline Village: Proposed "46" bus running from Cleary Square via the 32 route, Ukraine Way, the Forest Hills Upper Busway, then along the 39, 66, and 60 bus routes to Brookline Village. Would provide a one-seat ride between Hyde Park/Roslindale and JP/Mission Hill/Brookline, eliminating the need for a transfer at Forest Hills. Would also provide better connections to/from the D Line (better than the current D <-> 39 transfer).
  • Forest Hills - Allston Village: Proposed "49" bus running from Forest Hills via the 39 and 66 bus routes to Allston Village, looping back at Harvard Ave in Allston. Would provide a one set ride between Allston/Brookline and JP, eliminated the need to go in-and-out (Green to Orange), or transfer from the 66 at Riverway or Roxbury Crossing.
  • Oak Square - Dudley: Proposed "63" bus running from Dudley via the 66, 65, and 57 bus routes to Oak Square. Would provide a one set ride between Brighton and Mission Hill/Roxbury, and provide better connections to JP via the Orange Line to-and-from Brighton. These trips are currently very, unnecessarily difficult.
In general, I like these ideas. I think even just slightly overlapping some of the bus lines that share a terminus would be useful. One example I often wish for would be a 34 extension to the JP monument, and a 39 extension to Roslindale Square. It makes no sense that there is no single seat bus service between Roslindale and JP when they are right next to each other. That's just one example, but I'm sure there are plenty more similar pairings.
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:01 AM   #1485
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by mass88 View Post
Is the commuter rail electrified for an significant portions?

What would the main benefits be (if any) if the MBTA electrified the entire commuter rail system?
There are no commuter rail lines which are ready to run electric trains. The Providence Line is electrified, but I understand it would require so e work to get enough power on those lines.

1. Electric trains can accelerate and brake quicker (particularly if they are of EMU variety). This allows the same journey to be completed in less time, or more stops could be added without adding to the journey time.

2. The marginal cost of running an additional electric train is much lower than the marginal cost of running an additional diesel train. Thus the ridership where it is economical to run an additional train is lower. This means that if additional capacity is available, you could run more trains without increasing operating costs.

Basically put, electrification on it's own doesn't much other than shave a few minutes off journey times, but when if it's combined with capacity it can be rather transformative; particularly if you add other incremental improvements like automated fare collection (which we're already getting) and more high-level platforms, then commuter rail starts to resemble rapid transit service.
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:15 AM   #1486
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigeman312 View Post
I'd appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism.

I'm thinking of potential long (but not too long as to be operationally infeasible) bus routes that connect multiple high ridership corridors, and remove common transfers.
  • Dedham Line - Heath Street: Extend the 34 from Forest Hills to Heath Street via the 39 route. Would provide a one-seat ride between West Roxbury/Roslindale and JP/Mission Hill, eliminating the need for a transfer at Forest Hills.
  • Cleary Square - Brookline Village: Proposed "46" bus running from Cleary Square via the 32 route, Ukraine Way, the Forest Hills Upper Busway, then along the 39, 66, and 60 bus routes to Brookline Village. Would provide a one-seat ride between Hyde Park/Roslindale and JP/Mission Hill/Brookline, eliminating the need for a transfer at Forest Hills. Would also provide better connections to/from the D Line (better than the current D <-> 39 transfer).
  • Forest Hills - Allston Village: Proposed "49" bus running from Forest Hills via the 39 and 66 bus routes to Allston Village, looping back at Harvard Ave in Allston. Would provide a one set ride between Allston/Brookline and JP, eliminated the need to go in-and-out (Green to Orange), or transfer from the 66 at Riverway or Roxbury Crossing.
  • Oak Square - Dudley: Proposed "63" bus running from Dudley via the 66, 65, and 57 bus routes to Oak Square. Would provide a one set ride between Brighton and Mission Hill/Roxbury, and provide better connections to JP via the Orange Line to-and-from Brighton. These trips are currently very, unnecessarily difficult.
I don't really see the value in your proposed 49. An infrequent one seat ride does not any better to me than the existing two seat rides with all potential legs in the journey providing frequent service (particularly given that your route would be no more direct than the existing service). Though I could see some value if the route were Harvard to Forest Hills (called 66A) since this would do a better job of soaking up 66 riders.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:39 AM   #1487
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by HenryAlan View Post
In general, I like these ideas. I think even just slightly overlapping some of the bus lines that share a terminus would be useful. One example I often wish for would be a 34 extension to the JP monument, and a 39 extension to Roslindale Square. It makes no sense that there is no single seat bus service between Roslindale and JP when they are right next to each other. That's just one example, but I'm sure there are plenty more similar pairings.
Yes this is so true and my main motivation behind the proposals.

I imagine that extending the 39 beyond Forest Hills poses operational difficulties, given the frequency and duration of the 39 as is.

This is why I, instead, proposed to extend the 34 into JP to provide that overlapping service and one-seat ride between JP and Rozzie.

On a similar note, if the Silver Line were extended down Warren Street, to provide overlapping service there, it would turn a lot of two-seat rides into a one-seat ride.
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Old 01-14-2019, 04:35 PM   #1488
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Was trying to find updated info on the Urban Ring and of course, nothing... but I did find this compilation of comments to the proposal, back in 2005. It's a lot, but two responses I came across that aptly summarize the broadest issue with the project (that is, the lack of a reasonable plan, the overreliance on Phase II which is a pointless project, and the lack of detail or good faith in the proposal itself) are the response from Partners (p 389) and someone named Stephen Kaiser PhD (p 422). One good thing about a large and sprawling local institution like Partners is that its interests are not stuck on one locality, and the response is thoughtful and broad (arguing for a connection to Allston, not wasting money and time on pseudoBRT surface transit in the LMA, and the Red-Blue Connector for MGH) and at least goes to show there are some influential bodies that pay attention and aren't asleep at the wheel. The Kaiser piece makes for great reading lambasting the issues within the MBTA and local as well as state government. Both are essentially equally relevant to today... there's even a jab at the lack of a serious proposal for the NSRL, just like we just went through a few weeks ago.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:46 PM   #1489
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by FK4 View Post
Was trying to find updated info on the Urban Ring and of course, nothing... but I did find this compilation of comments to the proposal, back in 2005. It's a lot, but two responses I came across that aptly summarize the broadest issue with the project (that is, the lack of a reasonable plan, the overreliance on Phase II which is a pointless project, and the lack of detail or good faith in the proposal itself) are the response from Partners (p 389) and someone named Stephen Kaiser PhD (p 422). One good thing about a large and sprawling local institution like Partners is that its interests are not stuck on one locality, and the response is thoughtful and broad (arguing for a connection to Allston, not wasting money and time on pseudoBRT surface transit in the LMA, and the Red-Blue Connector for MGH) and at least goes to show there are some influential bodies that pay attention and aren't asleep at the wheel. The Kaiser piece makes for great reading lambasting the issues within the MBTA and local as well as state government. Both are essentially equally relevant to today... there's even a jab at the lack of a serious proposal for the NSRL, just like we just went through a few weeks ago.
circa-'05 was the last official action of any kind on the UR, so those search results (or lackthereof) are pretty much accurate.

The study itself was a godawful mess. Phase I is just the belated (now very very very belated) finish-up of the rollout of Crosstown routes delayed from the mid-90's. It doesn't belong in the Ring proposal at all, and should've been grouped with the Key Bus Route Improvements instead. Phase II, as you note, is a monument to indecision...because if Phase III on dedicated ROW's is to ever be a thing then they'd never waste their money on a half-dedicated ROW/half-mixed traffic intermediate step in the first place. It was a way of putting finger on the scale for Alternatives weighting in favor of BRT over LRT at a time when the state was still drinking the Silver Line kool-aid, and a way of making it a fait accompli that the project was never completed. And what little was described of Phase III was shockingly naive about the south half of the Ring's constraints for finding any sort of buildable dedicated ROW.

About the only thing the study did do well was bullseye the catchments and ID where ridership was going to flow between given points. That info is solid and holds up to scrutiny. To re-mount the study they probably have to dish Phase I entirely off to a Yellow Line initiative and just focus on the core. North half (Kenmore-Brickbottom-Airport + Harvard spur) probably needs a new workup in Phase III clothing, since that's got dedicated ROW everywhere except some TBD parts of the Harvard spur and would be a waste to pussyfoot with half-steps. Benchmark LRT vs. BRT on even footing instead of trying to fix the game with intermediate steps that are really cutbacks. South half (Kenmore-Dudley-Southie + JFK spur), owing to the futility of trying to fashion appreciable stretches of contiguous traffic-separated ROW, probably should get looked at through a hybridized Phase II lens as a branded Silver Line route or something...because it's borderline insulting to pretend we've seriously got another $4B burning a hole in our pockets for a cross-Roxbury subway with all the other unbuilt multibillion-dollar intracity projects still malingering (NSRL + Transitway-Back Bay topping that list).

It would be a much simpler and direct re-study if they cut all the mountains of extracurricular out. Since the ridership demographics described in the original study are now well-established, a lot more bandwidth could be devoted to the technical scoring that was virtually absent the first time around.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:36 AM   #1490
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
circa-'05 was the last official action of any kind on the UR, so those search results (or lackthereof) are pretty much accurate.

The study itself was a godawful mess. Phase I is just the belated (now very very very belated) finish-up of the rollout of Crosstown routes delayed from the mid-90's. It doesn't belong in the Ring proposal at all, and should've been grouped with the Key Bus Route Improvements instead. Phase II, as you note, is a monument to indecision...because if Phase III on dedicated ROW's is to ever be a thing then they'd never waste their money on a half-dedicated ROW/half-mixed traffic intermediate step in the first place. It was a way of putting finger on the scale for Alternatives weighting in favor of BRT over LRT at a time when the state was still drinking the Silver Line kool-aid, and a way of making it a fait accompli that the project was never completed. And what little was described of Phase III was shockingly naive about the south half of the Ring's constraints for finding any sort of buildable dedicated ROW.

About the only thing the study did do well was bullseye the catchments and ID where ridership was going to flow between given points. That info is solid and holds up to scrutiny. To re-mount the study they probably have to dish Phase I entirely off to a Yellow Line initiative and just focus on the core. North half (Kenmore-Brickbottom-Airport + Harvard spur) probably needs a new workup in Phase III clothing, since that's got dedicated ROW everywhere except some TBD parts of the Harvard spur and would be a waste to pussyfoot with half-steps. Benchmark LRT vs. BRT on even footing instead of trying to fix the game with intermediate steps that are really cutbacks. South half (Kenmore-Dudley-Southie + JFK spur), owing to the futility of trying to fashion appreciable stretches of contiguous traffic-separated ROW, probably should get looked at through a hybridized Phase II lens as a branded Silver Line route or something...because it's borderline insulting to pretend we've seriously got another $4B burning a hole in our pockets for a cross-Roxbury subway with all the other unbuilt multibillion-dollar intracity projects still malingering (NSRL + Transitway-Back Bay topping that list).

It would be a much simpler and direct re-study if they cut all the mountains of extracurricular out. Since the ridership demographics described in the original study are now well-established, a lot more bandwidth could be devoted to the technical scoring that was virtually absent the first time around.
Yeah - it would be great if the MBTA could just stop saying "Urban Ring" (which they have), but also start talking openly about the need for separate, serious transit projects to address the connectivity issues that exist... I really am worried about the lack of public dialogue right now about the concept of an Allston spur, as I mentioned in the Pike thread.

It also remains frustrating that in the public dialogue, the truly comprehensive benefits of NSRL are never mentioned: we may have gone, with Transitmatters, to at least having a group discussing the broader benefits to the commuter rails system rather than just being a connection between N and S station... but I have yet to read anything in the public realm about how we'll never be able to use the GJR for a GLX (or BRT, or anything other than Purple right now) until we create another connection for the two networks. The biggest picture stuff is the most important, but also the most lacking in any debate on Greater Boston transit...

Last edited by FK4; 01-15-2019 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:25 AM   #1491
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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It makes no sense that there is no single seat bus service between Roslindale and JP when they are right next to each other.
This has always been mind-blowing to me. The removal of the overpass could have been/could be a great opportunity for it, now that a massive physical barrier between both neighborhoods is down.

I go frequently to JP (Center st.) from Roslindale sq. I would love to take a single seat and leave the car at home. I am not doing that with a connection at Forest Hills for what should be a 15 min trip.

I think people (and politicians, and city planers,...) underestimate the effect of bus-arrival apps. For the first leg, you can leave your home with only a 1-2 min buffer, and it works nicely. It becomes competitive with the car with no waiting. The moment you add a connection it becomes the old waiting game again. This makes single seat trips more and more appealing, and connection more painful.
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:49 AM   #1492
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

That's exactly it -- the transfer is a barrier to local use service. My sister lives near the monument, my kids and I would absolutely visit her by bus if there was a through routed bus from Rozzie Square to there, but instead we always drive. I know, on a certain level, I should just take the bus anyway, but when that might meant the 15 minutes becomes 25, contrasted with the 10 by car, it's really no longer time competitive.

On the other hand, I frequently take buses to West Roxbury. I wonder what's different about those two trips....
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:57 AM   #1493
FK4
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by Schorschico View Post
This has always been mind-blowing to me. The removal of the overpass could have been/could be a great opportunity for it, now that a massive physical barrier between both neighborhoods is down.

I go frequently to JP (Center st.) from Roslindale sq. I would love to take a single seat and leave the car at home. I am not doing that with a connection at Forest Hills for what should be a 15 min trip.

I think people (and politicians, and city planers,...) underestimate the effect of bus-arrival apps. For the first leg, you can leave your home with only a 1-2 min buffer, and it works nicely. It becomes competitive with the car with no waiting. The moment you add a connection it becomes the old waiting game again. This makes single seat trips more and more appealing, and connection more painful.

The MBTA needs to just start from scratch on just about every transit idea. I don't see what's so hard about a utilitarian approach - measure trips all over the metro area, come up with draft solutions to reduce travel times and gain the most passengers, then order all of these solutions by cost/rider. The whole city is completely different from where it was when all the subways - and bus routes - were devised. I know the T is in fact (I think) in the process of rethinking some bus lines, but examples like the JP-Roslindale disconnect, which is predicated, planning-wise, on the existence of a trolley that's been defunct for decades, is just one of many egregious examples...
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Old 01-15-2019, 12:20 PM   #1494
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by FK4 View Post
I know the T is in fact (I think) in the process of rethinking some bus lines, but examples like the JP-Roslindale disconnect, which is predicated, planning-wise, on the existence of a trolley that's been defunct for decades, is just one of many egregious examples...
They are indeed looking at this, and in ways similar to the things we talk about here. Expect a big announcement on next steps, January 28. In the meantime, here's a brief presentation about goals and process.

https://cdn.mbta.com/sites/default/f...e-original.pdf
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Old 01-15-2019, 01:24 PM   #1495
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by HenryAlan View Post
That's exactly it -- the transfer is a barrier to local use service. My sister lives near the monument, my kids and I would absolutely visit her by bus if there was a through routed bus from Rozzie Square to there, but instead we always drive. I know, on a certain level, I should just take the bus anyway, but when that might meant the 15 minutes becomes 25, contrasted with the 10 by car, it's really no longer time competitive.

On the other hand, I frequently take buses to West Roxbury. I wonder what's different about those two trips....
The bus routes are pretty much setup as radial out of the terminal station (Forest Hills) - buses going south inherently go through Rozzie into Westie and beyond.
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:02 PM   #1496
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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It also remains frustrating that in the public dialogue, the truly comprehensive benefits of NSRL are never mentioned: we may have gone, with Transitmatters, to at least having a group discussing the broader benefits to the commuter rails system rather than just being a connection between N and S station... but I have yet to read anything in the public realm about how we'll never be able to use the GJR for a GLX (or BRT, or anything other than Purple right now) until we create another connection for the two networks. The biggest picture stuff is the most important, but also the most lacking in any debate on Greater Boston transit...
Grand Junction really has little to nothing to do with NSRL. On the RR mode it's far too lousy-performing a line to swing much heft in an RER-ified commuter rail system and cause any major hand-wringing. The junctions, curves, and northside terminal district are just too dog-slow to sustain reliable (<-- emphasis) all-day Urban Rail frequencies. The crossing impacts are apocryphal on the mode that can't share signal phases and can't incline fast enough to grade separate Mass Ave. And reverse-branching of the Worcester Line is problematic, because the previous WOR-NS study found very soft demand for it on non-peak hours where Red & Orange weren't over-straining under load at the transfers...where now we have the ongoing Orange/Red improvements directly aiming to neutralize most of that weakness. The last study showed that the conventional wisdom of the mythical MetroWest-Kendall one-seat doesn't end up holding water against a frequency + reliability argument on the mainline & transfers. That makes utmost sense in terms of basic RER principles (i.e. people will flock to the more frequent service, including the two-seat that's more frequent than the one-seat)...but it's not something we're used to in Greater Boston where frequencies are so poor that people tend to over-rate the single trip as a scarce resource and don't think much about linked trips.

In reality the RER rollout is going to have to write-off the GJ to whatever half-solution it can bear somewhat below the Urban Rail service threshold the mainlines get to enjoy, simply because it can't do any better. It doesn't mean it's not useful...on the contrary, whatever they can reasonably wring amidst the constraints is an unequivocal net-positive. But when the upper performance bound of the line doesn't sustain representative frequencies, it's just not going to be an important load-bearing cog in the RER system. And is an insignificant zit in any discussions about NSRL, since the service you can run within its threshold doesn't bring any truly game-breaking system linkage...just one south mainline to the north terminal, with no reciprocal north mainline-to-south anything return volley. The GJ in public perception is unfortunately like a supersized Track 61: this shiny bauble that must...be...pigeonholed into some grand scheme because it exists. A lot of those folks are going to have to downsize their expectations bigly when they realize the technical reality that it's a bit player in the network.



The mode change is what makes all the difference to the corridor. As soon as you're on a bus or trolley that's able to share road signal phases at the crossings, the carpocalypse at the un-eliminable Cambridge crossings vanishes. As soon as you're on a mode that can climb grades steep enough to get up/down over Mass Ave. in time for the MIT air rights buildings, you can act without screwing up the 1/CT1 in traffic. As soon as you're on a mode that can accelerate/decelerate worlds quicker than even the nimblest FRA-compliant EMU, you can add numerous additional stops conforming to Ring catchments. And as soon as you switch the mode hookups to BRT or Green Line, you're freed from the bane of the excruciating time-chewing crawl through the terminal district. This is where 6 min. or less bi-directional headways become possible on a ROW that (Mass Ave. grade separation aside) is physically unaltered from the one that couldn't do 15 min. bi-directional badged as an FRA railroad.

It'll become apparent how much changing modes is a gain in itself when people see how wide a miss the frequencies are when RER tries to stake itself to promises of strong reverse-branching schedule and has to significantly downsize it. It'll probably be eminently useful, but it won't be the West-Kendall-NS service panacea it was originally cracked up to be. And there lies the compelling motivation to go digging for something more than it can be with a serious look at a mode change.



For all that needs to be simplified with the next UR study, the moving parts should be broken out too instead of treated as a whole. So far we've established that dedicated-ROW north half is too different from mixed-running south half to treat as whole. Well, the quadrants also have different priority. The NW quadrant through Cambridge is arguably a higher priority than the NE quadrant through Sullivan, Chelsea, and Logan...all because of ↑this↑ desire to do something substantial now with the Grand Junction, but for the impending reality that the RR mode can't do enough of the desired job to hit its target. NW & NE quadrants should be technically scored, but priced out separately. The Harvard spur--excepting maybe the initial poke to West rolled in with the NW mainline--is also a separate installment-plan job because of wiggle room in Harvard's Beacon Park land use.

Basically, the re-study is taking the whole north half and doing the decision-making whither BRT or LRT (with LRT very likely being favored in a fair scoring because GLX did 90% of the infrastructure work around Brickbottom whereas BRT would need to create all-new infrastructure through most of the Somerville project area). Then stating the technical requirements for each segment. Then doing THREE separate itemizations to fund as THREE separate project installments to mount in any order: NW quadrant + West poke, NE quadrant, rest of Harvard spur running north of West Station. And then they mount a separate re-study of the mixed running hack-a-thon on the south half, treated whole as a Silver Line appendage...but with the rapid transit elements they can't swing on the route itself instead bolstered by study considerations for strengthening feeder spines: Green Line conversion for Silver-Washington St., D-to-E connector + service pattern mixing at Brookline Village, Haul Road-to-Silver Line Way transfers to a Green Line-interlined Transitway, etc.
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Old 01-15-2019, 06:38 PM   #1497
mass88
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by whittle View Post
There are no commuter rail lines which are ready to run electric trains. The Providence Line is electrified, but I understand it would require so e work to get enough power on those lines.

1. Electric trains can accelerate and brake quicker (particularly if they are of EMU variety). This allows the same journey to be completed in less time, or more stops could be added without adding to the journey time.

2. The marginal cost of running an additional electric train is much lower than the marginal cost of running an additional diesel train. Thus the ridership where it is economical to run an additional train is lower. This means that if additional capacity is available, you could run more trains without increasing operating costs.

Basically put, electrification on it's own doesn't much other than shave a few minutes off journey times, but when if it's combined with capacity it can be rather transformative; particularly if you add other incremental improvements like automated fare collection (which we're already getting) and more high-level platforms, then commuter rail starts to resemble rapid transit service.
Thanks for the nice response. How costly would it be to electrify the entire system?
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Old 01-15-2019, 07:24 PM   #1498
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by mass88 View Post
Thanks for the nice response. How costly would it be to electrify the entire system?
Very...especially the northside. But look at it this way. . .

1. Install full generation capacity at existing Amtrak Sharon substation (which was left half-empty for the T to expand at leisure). Sharon powers the South Station terminal district as well as the innermost NEC. These services would all chain off that 1 single-point upgrade:
  • full Providence Line Regional Rail service (30-min. bi-directional headways) using EMU's.
  • Fairmount Line electrification and Urban Rail (15-min. bi-directional headways) using EMU's.
  • Worcester Line to Riverside electrification for Urban Rail.
  • (maybe...pushing it) Fairmount Line extension from Readville to Dedham Corporate for true 128 service.
That's a very good start! The system's busiest line, and service starts for the 2 most sought-after intra-128 Urban Rail schedules. RIDOT also doesn't have much to fund to get its power capacity set, so Providence-Westerly can quickly join these schedules using EMU's.

----- ----- ----- -----

2. Now install a MetroWest substation (note: 25 kV substations cover roughly 30 miles) serving Riverside phase break to Worcester to enable:
  • full Framingham/Worcester Regional Rail service on EMU's.
By virtue of having monster Providence + Worcester, the RIDOT share of the fleet, and the 2 Urban Rail schedules all electrified you have already flipped close to 60% of the southside fleet to electric. Scales quickly!

----- ----- ----- -----

3. Convert the Needham Line to Orange & Green Line halves, under rapid transit electrification.

Need to do this because the SW Corridor can't handle Urban Rail frequencies to Needham, but by mode-changing this line you've now got two-thirds of the southside equipment electric.

----- ----- ----- -----

4. 1 substation in East Walpole on the Framingham Secondary enables:
  • electrification of all of Forge Park/Foxboro. Including interconnection to the NEC @ Mansfield for Providence-originating Pats game trains and emergency re-routes.
>70% of southside vehicle requirements now electric. Only the lines that have other burning questions pre-empting electrification decisions are still running diesel: Old Colony (3 substations = pricey...plus not worth it until they fix the Dorchester-Quincy capacity pinch and can run more service) and Stoughton (South Coast Rail will-they/won't-they affecting substation placement decisions).

----- ----- ----- -----

So let's say that the minimum for implementing effective RER is #1 and #2...the amount of service scale tied up in the lines in question more than justifies making the investment. Maybe after that you have to cool it down and budget more slowly to pry Needham off and fund Franklin...but still: look at how much better the system is going to perform with just the two biggies and the two Urban Rail lines cranking along under wire.

Northside isn't really targeted for electrification under the RER study because they have to be realistic: planting the flag for the first time is goddamn hard. It's not really a hurry-up effort unless NSRL becomes a front-burner thing, because there's a whole lot more gears that the service-poorer northside of the system can achieve with freed-up diesel reinforcements from the increasingly electrified south. North has a lot more freight clearance constrictions for stringing up wire requiring extra $$$ to be socked away...with the #1 most critical Lowell Line being the biggest P.I.T.A. for number of bridge touches and outer Haverhill Line being the worst for sheer difficulty. Number of substations (example: Fitchburg needs 2: one for Littleton-inbound, 1 for Ayer-Wachusett) also will force paying on the installment plan to wire up. And the gimpy-capacity Reading Line will raise the specter (already acknowledged in the T's RER slides) that maybe its future is better suited to the Orange Line than trying to be tarted up in electric Purple.
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Old 01-15-2019, 08:16 PM   #1499
FK4
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Yeah, but F Line: what I was referring to re: the GJ is that the purple line still needs it for maintenance purposes... other than that crazy long connection way the fuck out in I-290 land itís the only way to shuttle cars from south to north, right? So, in order to steal the GJ for BRT or light rail, donít we really need the NSRL first, simply to preserve the connection between the systems? If I recall correctly, that was all discussed a couple years ago on the green line thread, along with the Brookline Village / E connection / Arborway stuff.
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Old 01-15-2019, 08:52 PM   #1500
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by FK4 View Post
Yeah, but F Line: what I was referring to re: the GJ is that the purple line still needs it for maintenance purposes... other than that crazy long connection way the fuck out in I-290 land itís the only way to shuttle cars from south to north. So, in order to steal the GJ for BRT or light rail, donít we really need the NSRL first?
Not at all. The only thing you need is enough south vs. north equipment independence that swaps reduce from couple times daily to couple times weekly, such that operating costs for much more seldom swaps run via Worcester County are within tolerable range of what they are for a week's slate of daily GJ moves. Target would be 2 moves per week + as-needed cushion, because 2 swaps is the weekly schedule Amtrak keeps for rotating its Downeaster sets between BET and Southampton Yard. The T can use those set-schedule opportunities to mash as much of its own equipment together with the AMTK moves.

The way that's achieved is spelled out in my last...unrelated...post in this thread re: electrification sequences. If you get 60% of the southside's fleet requirements electrified on EMU's maintained down south by taking just the first electrification steps...you pretty much are most of the way there. If the southside EMU maintenance facility is built to handle full-service duties on push-pull coaches to boot, then swaps can be culled even further to just diesel locomotives. Additionally, it would help if some of the spare land at Readville were put to use for storing native south work equipment and track materials so southside did not have to borrow as heavily from Alewife work shed or the material piles in Somerville & Everett.

So...RER FTW!!! Now, please. It delivers in more ways than one.


Upgrading the Pan Am Worcester Branch for acceptable speeds wouldn't be a burden the T would have to bear. It's badly needed for freight revenue alone, since CSX has kick-started 2019 by increasing its usage share of the branch bigtime with a newly-instituted Framingham-Ayer daily in addition to running its longstanding megabucks Pan Am joint-venture "SEPO" (Selkirk-Portland) train. The recent wheeling and dealing foretells MassDOT buying the branch within the next few months and delivering its upgrade quid pro quo's. Target speeds of 25 MPH freight/30 MPH passenger--standard MassDOT spec for spending any freight $$$--would lop half the time off the currently 5+ hour SS-NS trip. Pan Am's always rumored to be on the chopping block, so easily possible that their successors could desire 40 MPH freight (60 MPH passenger) to encourage more time-sensitive loads on "SEPO"...in which case private investment could lop more time off.


FWIW...the T is using the Worcester-Ayer detour **right now** because the GJ has been out-of-service since the new year for some bridge work. Shoring up the condition of the Worcester bypass is very much a front-burner concern because there's a shitload of little deferred-maint repair jobs they have to do on the GJ which will require intermittent service outages.
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